Kashmiri Pandits in Valley divided over the scrapping of Article 370

Kashmiri Pandits living in Sheikhpora Pandit Colony in central Kashmir’s Budgam district are divided over scrapping of Article 370.

Published: 21st August 2019 09:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2019 09:20 AM   |  A+A-

Policemen patrolling at Lal Chowk after restrictions were lifted in Srinagar on Tuesday. Barricades around the Clock Tower in the city centre were removed | PTI

Express News Service

SHEIKHPORA (BUDGAM): Kashmiri Pandits living in Sheikhpora Pandit Colony in central Kashmir’s Budgam district are divided over scrapping of Article 370.

About 300 Pandit families, including 31 families who did not migrate from the Valley after the eruption of militancy in 1990, and those who have got jobs in Kashmir under Prime Minister’s job package, are living in transit accommodations for Pandits at Sheikpora set up by the J&K government in 2005.

Roshan Lal Koul, a retired revenue official, said for the Pandit community, Article 370 had become irrelevant after the migration of from the Valley in 1990. “We feel that Kashmiriyat and Insaaniyat, which is often talked about, vanished in thin air with the mass migration of Pandits,” he said.

READ MORE | Return of Kashmiri Pandits to Valley possible only with stakeholders' support: Adviser to Governor

Pandit Brijnath opposed the  scrapping of Article 370. “It ensured the safety and security of our identity and culture. Now, there is not only a threat to our identity and culture but to the womenfolk also,” he said.
“Our womenfolk used to walk on the roads without any fear. Now there is a fear that criminals will come to Kashmir and our women can no longer walk safely on roads. Now a man has to accompany the woman whenever she goes out,” he said.

Bhushan Lal, who lost two brothers to militancy related violence, also supported the Centre’s move. “The big investors will now come to Kashmir and set up ventures, and generate employment for the youth of J&K,” he said. Brijnath said on the contrary, would lead to unemployment in the state.

Govt can’t decide who can meet Sajjad Lone  

The government is in a fix as it has to decide which family member it should allow to meet Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Gani Lone. He was detained along with dozens of other mainstream leaders in the Valley immediately after scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K into two Union Territories on August 5. He is lodged in Sheri Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar. A close relative of Sajjad said neither his wife nor mother has been allowed to meet him so far. Sajjad’s wife Asma is a Pakistani citizen and daughter of JKLF founder Amanullah Khan. She was staying with her husband here on visa.  Sajjad’s brother Bilal Gani Lone is a separatist leader and member of Hurriyat Confe-rence led by the Mirwaiz. 

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